Friday, August 10, 2012

A New Identity for Rational Empiricism

In my mind there seems only one basic, moral conclusion from skepticism and rational empiricism or even atheism. As a human, I should care about humanity's well being. The best way to do this, from the evidence and from the logic that there is no good reason not to, is to allow the best spread of privilege and equality possible at a given time.

This is not to say communism or some such, this is about rights and opportunities. One of the biggest holes in various "rational" movements, or even civil rights movements, is an inherent selfishness and blindness from privilege. The defensive nature of people like DJ Grothe when confronted with a sexual harassment issue, or when certain feminists are confronted by trans people, among others (many, many others), is a betrayal of rationalism. This isn't a No True Scotsman thing, either, but about the principles these people claim to hold and then immediately fail to live out.

A current, horrifying example is over at Freethought blogs where a short lived member invited from youtube, thunderfoot, is running amok. He was expelled after showing himself to be sexist, petty and abusive of his fellow bloggers, and has not gotten over it sense. Apparently he is now threatening to reveal personal emails and identities of bloggers over there, many of whom write under pseudonyms like me, but for their protection. People like Natalie Reed and Zinnia Jones and Taslima, who could be genuinely hurt if their identities or addresses were revealed. Thunderfoot is being a petty asshole, and he is part of an increasing number of awful people associated with the skeptical and atheist "communities." I am increasingly uneasy associating with those terms now, although I am an atheist and skeptic, I really don't want to be mixed up with a bunch of petty, selfish and defensive people in the same type of denial that theists always are.

These people only embrace skepticism as a way to feel smarter than theists, but they really have far more in common with the religious than they do with genuinely rationalist people. At its heart, rationalism is based around the idea that you can be wrong. Passionate defense of your ideas is great, and certain things are foregone conclusions (no god, etc) but if your only defense is accusations that your opponent is radical or playing victim, fuck you. No punches to be held back, if a woman says she felt unsafe and someone's response is to accuse them of being dramatic, fuck them. If a trans says they identify with being X gender and some self identified feminist claims they don't mean it because blah blah gender isn't real, fuck them. I don't care what movement someone claims to be in, if they are wrong, if they are supporting irrational beliefs and refuse to even think they could be wrong, they can fuck off and go hang out with the god botherers.

We need a new group, a new movement that is there to make humanity better. Atheism is a label merely saying you don't believe in god. Good for us, we don't believe an obvious fairy tale. Skepticism is vague, not really describing any sort of goal. Great for them, but why bother if you don't care about results? Feminism is a bit better, at least subscribing to some goal, but I know of too many who are transphobic and the same goes for many LGB rights people, ignoring the trans, gender fluid, and even the bisexuals sometimes. We need something new, something with these elements but a clearer goal. We need a movement whose goal is to accept being wrong, a movement that strives for the best results for humanity as a whole. It needs to expel cultural artifacts that cannot be defended with logic and evidence, it needs to finally unroot itself from a history of religious thinking and patriarchy. We need something for the new generation, with its sights set higher than merely getting slightly better for a specific group.

We need a movement where atheism is just a fact, not a purpose, and where rational thought is applied to all things, not just pet issues. The only real focus is on humanity, and making it better. Science makes it better, equality makes it better, knowing about the world makes it better, and admitting you are wrong makes it better. Anyone can be wrong, though as a side note this doesn't mean repeated arguments sans proof should be considered. Any good argument (by the definition of good in logic, not personal preference) must be considered.

We need this movement because it is too easy to identify and claim membership to broad labels with no meaning beyond a coincidental conclusion that obvious things are wrong, like god or magic tricks or alternative meds. One that Objectivists and libertarians would shy from, one that would make MRAs angry to think about, one that makes those whose rights are threatened feel welcome and one that is willing to be wrong and correct itself. One that argues passionately within itself and can then move on with the correct, or at least better conclusions. One where pettiness is a disqualified. One where a violation of trust is grounds for expulsion and one where we can rely on each other to have the same broad goals, not the same random conclusion about life.

We, not the atheists and skeptics but we, humanity need this group to help push us forward. Humanity won't last without these elements of thought being combined.

Logic Priest

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